In Great Britain, the Victorians built
the vast bulk of the country’s railway system and constructed steam locomotives to work them -
many different designs were created, with many different results. The final
form of the steam locomotive was seen in the designs introduced in the early
years of the 20th century, from there on development was in detail and power.
Using footage from the last quarter of a
century, this programme looks at the way this final form was refined by some of
the most famous engineers of their time, right up to the last steam locomotives
built for main line service in the country.
This is The Standard Age, examining the Standard locomotives.
Following the Second World War, the railways were somewhat worn out and run
down, as was the steam locomotive fleet. The idealistic new Labour Government
was committed to nationalising the railways, and thus produced a homogeneous
railway system for the first time in Great Britain’s history.
However, there was no money for investment
in the new technology of electrification or diesel locomotives which was taking
place elsewhere in Europe and the USA, so steam designs were
continued from the "Big 4" days and a new range of Standard
locomotives was produced for construction in the 1950s.
There was to be one final steam ‘fling’ as
the reconstruction of the controversial Bulleid Pacifics of the Southern
produced what was to be effectively the last main line steam type of all.
This DVD is also available as part of the 5-disc Ages of Steam box set.